The Silent Ventus ion-powered drone, from Undefined Technologies, has just completed its third test flight. The manufacturer has succeeded in increasing the flight time of the prototype while reducing the noise generated by this “silent” technology.
Drone delivery faces a major obstacle: nuisancenuisance sound. Most models are quadcopters that generate a lot of noise, which could quickly become problematic in quiet residential areas. This is the main reason why Undefined Technologies is working on a dronedrone “silent” ion-powered freighter.
The manufacturer has just released a video of its third test flight. The technology, which is touted as silent, is still a long way off. However, the Silent Ventus now produces noise below 75 decibelsdecibels, against 90 decibels during its first flight, and 85 decibels during the second. It should be noted that the manufacturer does not specify at what distance the sound level measurement was carried out, which makes any comparison with quadcopters difficult… It also set a new record of durationdurationwith a flight of four and a half minutes, against two and a half minutes previously.
Third test flight of the Silent Ventus ion-powered drone. © Undefined Technologies
A very different appearance from quadcopters
Instead of rotors, the Silent Ventus has grids made ofelectrodeselectrodeswhich create electric fieldselectric fields. This process ionizes molecules in the air, producing enough thrust to launch the aircraft. Last May, the manufacturer presented a rendering of what the final version of the drone should look like, but for now the prototype looks more like a dish drainer…
Undefined Technologies attributes this new performance to “ advances in battery chemistry that can provide higher energy density “, without however giving technical details. The firm intends to lower the sound level of its prototype below 70 decibels by the end of next year with a flight time of 15 minutes. She aims to market her drone in 2024.
Here is the ion-powered drone
The Silent Ventus is a silent prototype drone with an ion-powered engine. This motorization process without mechanical parts has been used for a long time for certain space vehicles, but remains very experimental for aircraftaircraft like planes or drones. If it manages to take off vertically, for the moment, it is still far from the noise level.
Article of Louis NephewLouis Nephewpublished on 07/05/2022
After MIT’s Ion Drive, an aircraft powered by an electro-aerodynamic device, here is the vertical take-off drone version. Coming from the company Undefined Technologies based in Florida in the United States, and dubbed Silent Ventus for the moment, the drone looks like a kind of flying rack. But the company has just presented its future design, namely a body placed on this structure.
This flying palette is equipped with two large superimposed grids composed of electrodes with high tensionhigh tension. They are in opposition so that theairair be ionized and accelerated downward to generate thrust. Unlike the plane, it takes much more thrust, and therefore moreenergyenergy, to make this drone take off and keep it in the air. It has already made two test flights. The first lasted 25 seconds and, during the second, the aircraft remained in the air for more than two and a half minutes.
During this experimental flight, the high-pitched whistle of the electro-aerodynamic propulsion system is heard. © Undefined Technologies
Lots of noise for a quiet drone
In both cases, the drone performed its flights indoors, so without wind. The company also touts its technology called Air Tantrum. A technology that will make the device extremely quiet according to the firm, hence the name Silent Ventus. Because it is not because there is no engine that an ion propulsion does not make noise, far from it. During its first flight, the drone generated a high-pitched whistle of about 90 decibels.
Undefined Technologies intends to reduce the volumevolume sound at 70 decibels. A level that remains about as high as that of a semi-professional quadcopter drone after all. Nevertheless, for the moment, despite its imposing size, this drone is extremely light and it remains difficult to know if it will one day be able to carry a payload to compete with multirotor drones.